The Elections Commission has accepted the candidacy of the joint opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih.
In a tweet Saturday morning, the EC announced that the veteran lawmaker has been provided with confirmation that the “candidacy of [Maldivian Democratic Party] presidential candidate” has been accepted.
According to law, the electoral body must decide on the candidacy within 48 hours of accepting the application to contest.
Speaking to reporters before flying to Baa atoll on a campaign tour, Ibu said the EC’s acceptance represented the overcoming of an important hurdle.
“We have to do much difficult work in this effort. We will face tough things. But the joint opposition coalition and our supporters will work in unity to win the September 23 election by a great margin,” he said.
The MP for Hinnavaru was named the MDP’s alternative candidate after former president Mohamed Nasheed dropped out, citing concerns that the main opposition party could be left without a candidate. The EC refused to accept the exiled opposition leader’s candidacy over a controversial terrorism conviction.
Ibu is due to visit nine islands on his three-day trip to Baa atoll, during which he will go door-to-door and hold campaign rallies.
On Thursday, he became the first presidential hopeful to submit candidacy papers. The EC has since extended the deadline to August 10.
Ibu and his running mate Faisal Naseem were accompanied by leaders and supporters of the opposition parties along with Maumoon’s Reform Movement, recently formed by loyalists of former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled the country for 30-years.
Aside from the incumbent president, other likely candidates, including former home Minister Umar Naseer and Shujau Hussain, a former deputy chair of the Local Government Authority, have not yet submitted forms.
President Abdulla Yameen is campaigning with running mate Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed and the pair is also yet to submit forms.